Ah, the joys of fall in Central Florida! As we ease away from worrying about hurricane season, temperatures begin to drop to the double-digits – making this the perfect time to get back to outdoor chores and home improvement projects before the thermometer dips even lower and it gets too cold for our thin Florida skin. Pressure washing (also called power washing) your house should be at, or near, the top of this list. Not only does a sparkling-clean abode show a sense of pride about yourself and your status in the neighborhood, it’s also a necessity to maximize curb appeal if you’re planning to sell, and to properly prep your house if you’re planning to paint.
If you can’t remember the last time you pressure washed your house, it probably could benefit from a good cleaning, no matter what your plans. It’s typical to not look at your home’s exterior closely, unless a problem becomes obvious. However, ignoring built-up grime, mildew, road dust (if you live on an unpaved street) and bird droppings not only creates a dingy appearance, but can actually damage your home and pose a health hazard. As noted by New Life Painting, mildew and mold continue to grow if left unchecked – and mold can grow within walls, meaning your home’s interior could be affected.
Do you dare DIY?
Pressure washing is one of those jobs that inexperienced, yet physically sturdy people often think they can take on themselves and save money. Of course, only you can judge your own capability to handle the equipment. Yet just because you may be able to wield the wand with ease, keep in mind that it can be hazardous if you aren’t familiar with how to work a pressure washer. Dangers include using too much pressure or the wrong nozzle – which can damage surfaces (such as siding, mortar and wood), break windows, and even cause injury. Improper use can also blast paint off, which means you’ll be repainting long before you intended. When it comes to safe, successful pressure washing, brain is as important as brawn.
Of course, hardcore DIY types probably already own a pressure washer, and therefore probably aren’t reading this. But if you’re generally handy with home maintenance and confident in your ability to tackle the task, renting the equipment at a home center is a good option. The advantage is in being able to talk to the rental associate, describe your house and get a recommendation on the type of pressure washer and accessories you’ll need. Being upfront with the associate about your experience level will result in the detailed, helpful advice and instructions that will allow you do to the best job in the safest way.
Once you’re set up and ready to start, become familiar with the wand or spray gun to work out the most effective spray pattern. You should use both arms to prevent fatigue. It is recommended to wash with the wand aimed downward, but there may be times you’ll have to aim it slightly up. As a general rule, work from the top down, and don’t spray water directly into cracks and gaps.
Before getting underway, be sure you know how to use the pressure washer safely. Industrial equipment manufacturer Mi-T-M Corp. offers this helpful video of safety tips. Highlights include the following:
- Read and heed all safety instructions on the equipment.
- Wear safety goggles and closed-toe shoes.
- If using an electric pressure washer, plug into a properly grounded GFCI outlet.
- Place the pressure washer on a flat surface before starting.
- Never point the nozzle at a person or animal; never come directly in line of the spray yourself.
- Make sure the work area is clear of children and pets.
- When not in use, hold the nozzle or gun assembly properly, so that water doesn’t accidentally spray.
- When you turn off the pressure washer, release the pressure by squeezing the trigger before detaching hoses and nozzles.
- Be careful before moving the pressure washer from one place to another, as the engine can get very hot.
Leaving it to the pros
If you’ve already decided that pressure washing is best left to the pros, The Paint Manager is ready! Our team has years of experience in power washing homes of all sizes, construction materials and ages to provide the best possible results. You can also contact us for innovative ideas on painting and repainting your home’s interiors and exteriors. We offer free estimates on all projects, and will be happy to help you take your home improvement plans to reality!